Author Spotlight: Thomas Heise
Up-and-coming author Thomas Heise is a jack-of-all-trades, as he seamlessly moves from writing about NYC history to composing poetry. This talented author has won both The Gulf Coast Prize for Poetry and The Robert Frost Fellow in Poetry award at the Bread Loaf Writer’s conference. His work has also been featured in Gulf Coast, Arizona Quarterly, The Journal of Popular Culture, and Ploughshares. Although writing is Heise’s main passion, he’s currently working as an associate professor of English at McGill University and travels back and forth from Montreal to New York City.
He has written two books of poetry: Horror Vacui: Poems and Moth; or how I came to be with you again. Horror Vacui explores the seemingly hereditary fear that humans have of empty spaces and plays around with the emotion of loneliness that is sprung from losing a beloved father. The end result is an existential crisis that is both mournful and haunting in its lyrical beauty.
Meanwhile, Moth revolves around the concept of journeys. Whether the narrator is fleeing from his absent father, attempting to hunt down his missing mother, or searching for a lost love, Heise’s poetry shows off the compelling rhythm of insomnia, desire, and one’s memories that combine into an enthralling read.
Heise switches gears in Urban Underworld: A Geography Of Twentieth Century American Literature and Culture. Urban Underworld looks at how city spaces often reflect the society of the time’s attitudes toward things such as the culture’s lurid fears, their musings on identity, and American literature. He chronicles the years from the 1890s to the 1990s and how society at the time treated marginal outcasts, such as the immigrants living in the Lower East Side, the gays and lesbians who were living in Greenwich Village, and the urban poor in the Big Apple. The end result is a fascinating expose on middle-class American privilege that will be very educational for many readers.
No matter what the genre, Heise is a fascinating author who will enthrall his readers.
Top image by Derek Key.